Posts Tagged ‘why not call the cops’

Many of you who live in Southern Barton Heights may have seen some of the Wingnuts and other folks in the neighborhood out watching the cops on a pretty regular basis.  For those of you who we haven’t yet had the opportunity to talk with about what we’re doing, here’s a little bit of information about copwatch in general and Southern Barton Heights Cop Watch in specific.  If you’d like to get involved, do so!  Or if you have questions about how to get involved or what you can do to help, email us or stop by the Wingnut.

What is copwatch?
Copwatch is a decentralized network of autonomous organizations spread all over the country.  The purpose of a copwatch group is to monitor and document police activity, with the intention of helping to prevent police misconduct and police brutality.

Southern Barton Heights Copwatch is still in its formative stages, but we do our best to be a highly visible, monitoring presence to as much police activity in our area as we can.  We use such tactics as video taping, camera phones, and note taking to document police activity.

Who can do copwatch?
Anyone can do copwatch!  Any time you see the police stopping someone or interacting with members of our community, grab a camera, video camera, pen and paper, and document what you see.  Try to grab a friend or another person to watch the cops with you, it’s safer.
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Why not call the cops?

- The police are often an outside force with no genuine investment in the communities in which they work.

- Lots of calls can increase police presence and increase harrassment of innocent people and nonviolent offenders.

- The police are an inherently racist and classist organization.  Race and class profiling often leads to a “guilty until proven innocent” mindset on the part of the police when interacting with people of color or the economically disadvantaged.

- By using the police as intermediaries we sacrifice our personal accountability and autonomy, allowing our communities to become divided.

- The police are the strong arm of the state and have historically pitted community members against both each other and other oppressed communities.  Solidarity makes us strong, and it is in the interests of the state, corporations, and the rich that people remain weak and divided.